Benches and canopies have been installed in a parking area on Rover Boulevard near N.M. 4 in White Rock for visitors to park their vehicles and wait in the shade for Atomic City Transit to transport them to Bandelier this summer. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
A free shuttle service operated by Atomic City Transit is the only way in which visitors will have access to Bandelier National Monument this summer through November, Park Superintendent Jason Lott said.
Visitors should park in the designated lot at the intersection of N.M. 4 and Rover Boulevard in White Rock.
The free shuttles pick up visitors regularly every 20 minutes beginning at 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. daily from that stop with the last shuttle returning from Bandelier at 6 p.m. daily.
Los Alamos County’s Atomic City Transit, in partnership with the National Park Service, operated a highly successful shuttle service to Bandelier after the Las Conchas Fire and subsequent flooding in 2011.
Because Frijoles Canyon is still recovering from impacts of fire and flood, and because there is a likelihood of more flooding over the next few years, the National Park Service and Los Alamos County have entered into a 3-year partnership to provide visitor access through Atomic City Transit.
“Bandelier National Monument is one of the premier attractions to Los Alamos County. We are very grateful to the people of Los Alamos County for joining us to provide this service for the safety and enjoyment of our visitors through the busiest seasons of the year,” Lott said. “Not only will this service provide access, it will alleviate the congestion and chaos of an overcrowded parking area, which has been a long-term issue at Bandelier.”
Flood preparations and flood effects in Frijoles Canyon have compounded the parking shortfall, by reducing
available parking nearly 50 percent.
While the shuttle service is free, Bandelier National Monument has an entrance fee of $6 per person, or $12 for groups of two or more visitors, payable at the Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center when visitors arrive.
All federal passes, including Senior Passes, America the Beautiful Passes, Military, Access Passes and Bandelier Annual Passes will be honored and available for purchase at the Bandelier Visitor Center.
The free shuttles are wheelchair accessible; however, mobility impaired visitors with handicap plates or placards will be allowed to drive into Frijoles Canyon.
Day hikers who wish to hike trails accessible from mesa-top trailheads will be allowed to park at those trailheads from dawn to dusk.
This includes trailheads accessible from N.M.4, as well as the Frey Trail and Tyuonyi Overlook Trail, which are accessible from the Juniper Campground Amphitheater parking lot.
Some exceptions may apply for overnight backcountry hikers.
Contact the Visitor Center at (505) 672-3861 ext. 517 for more information.
This year, the free shuttle will run through November. In 2013, the free service will resume in March. For further questions about visiting Bandelier National Monument, call the Bandelier Visitor Center at (505) 672-3861 ext. 517 or visit www.nps.gov/band.